A mathematical model for simulating the phase-based transmissibility of a novel coronavirus

Infect Dis Poverty. 2020 Feb 28;9(1):24. doi: 10.1186/s40249-020-00640-3.


Background: As reported by the World Health Organization, a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified as the causative virus of Wuhan pneumonia of unknown etiology by Chinese authorities on 7 January, 2020. The virus was named as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses on 11 February, 2020. This study aimed to develop a mathematical model for calculating the transmissibility of the virus.

Methods: In this study, we developed a Bats-Hosts-Reservoir-People transmission network model for simulating the potential transmission from the infection source (probably be bats) to the human infection. Since the Bats-Hosts-Reservoir network was hard to explore clearly and public concerns were focusing on the transmission from Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market (reservoir) to people, we simplified the model as Reservoir-People (RP) transmission network model. The next generation matrix approach was adopted to calculate the basic reproduction number (R0) from the RP model to assess the transmissibility of the SARS-CoV-2.

Results: The value of R0 was estimated of 2.30 from reservoir to person and 3.58 from person to person which means that the expected number of secondary infections that result from introducing a single infected individual into an otherwise susceptible population was 3.58.

Conclusions: Our model showed that the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 was higher than the Middle East respiratory syndrome in the Middle East countries, similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome, but lower than MERS in the Republic of Korea.

Keywords: Basic reproduction number; Mathematical model; Next generation matrix; Novel coronavirus; Transmissibility.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Betacoronavirus / growth & development*
  • COVID-19
  • Chiroptera / virology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission*
  • Disease Reservoirs / veterinary
  • Disease Reservoirs / virology
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Time Factors